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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, for those of you who run turbo's and do road racing often. Do you guys have any worries about hardware? Have you experienced much downtime do to some fault with your setup? Do you forsee any problems down the line that you are not experiencing now?

I'm just really curious as to what problems a turbo, and it's related hardware can bring to a car running say... 6-10 lapping days a year, at roughly 2 hours of driving time per day!

Thanks
 

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Re: For you Turbo Road Racers

i'm very interested as well but i'd like to expand on belacyrf's questions a little bit.
1.) how much boost are you running?
2.) intercooled or no?
3.) standard zetec or an SVT?
 

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Re: For you Turbo Road Racers

look for mr. pressurized...he's done a few track events w/his turbo setup (zx3)...the video of him not givin into an m3 coupe is legend.

-Ult
 

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Well, I've only done one track day so far, but it was a BIG trackday. 2 whole tanks of gas, I think 3 hours. Oh, and I did one last season with the stock AC2 setup.

Specifically, what are you looking for?

I know you talked about heat in the Wolff Racing thread. It's not an issue. I didn't want to get into it there, that thread isn't conducive to a good discussion.

Will a turbo increase underhood temps? Yeah. Much, no, I don't think so. Certainly not more than a supercharger will. I'm running with the stock manifold with no heatshield, and didn't melt the paint on my hood. Fan shroud is doing fine, PCV oil seperator is fine.

I think you mentioned something about heat and the turbine?

Not a problem. Turbos are PROVEN devices. The will not just die if you take care of them. Porsche has proven them in endurance racing.

Yes, it another component that can fail. It's something else to go wrong. But if your system is designed right, it should be a problem. The engine itself will be under less stress for a given power level with turbo than you will NA.

I really think with good management, and a reasonable system (200-250 hp) that it's just not a problem.

To answer spike, I'm running 9psi non-intercooled, with spikes up to 11psi. Using the Pectel. I'm not sure a chipped setup would live like this.

Just my $.02.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Rob.. my main areas of concern are those that could fail causing my car to be out of commission.

Let me rephrase the question:
What problems could arise due to road racing that would be less likely to be seen in a hard daily driven turbo car.

Since I'm seriously considering a turbo over a supercharger and just committing to pulling the turbo off every 2 years for emissions purposes, my worry now is longevity. I don't want a turbo to break down, I don't want a cracked manifold every year and so on... Thanks!!
 

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I have never shared tracktime with a turbo Focus, but have seen enough turbos on track to be able to help identify some areas of concern.

1) Piping. Turbo cars are always blowing hoses and the like. Bead rolling and really good clamps seem to be lost on many, including OEM's.

2) Gaskets. Most gaskets around the turbo seem pretty vulnerable. I have yet to see a manifold gasket go, but have seen a couple of instances of turbo flange gasket failure.

3) PCV system. Too many turbo cars burn a lot of oil on over run after a long straight. Again, OEM's included.

4) Vacuum lines. Since many of them are boost and vacuum lines, coupled with some heat, they seem to be on the hit list. I think the problem is many of them are out of sight, out of mind and left for far too long.

Personally, I would never put a turbo on a track that is just for fun. Maybe someone with an aerocharger will come to VIR and make me change my mind, but at this time, no way.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Rich, do you feel equally about superchargers?
 

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No, superchargers aren't nearly as bad as turbos. Sure they have some heat and belt issues, but really, they are far simpler than turbos. I'm sure someone will come out and say I am nuts, but I think that the JRSC is just about the perfect shape curve for a track car. Just pulls nice and flat all the way up. It would be a whole lot better were the Eaton roots blower not pumping such hot air, but if you are satisified with the power output, it comes with a lot fewer compromises than a turbo system.

I have been doing track events for almost a decade now and have done the full circle. I went from just trying to learn, to gaining confidence, to being one of the fast guys, to getting a comp license and then back to wanting to just learn (albeit as an instructor). On this circular journey, I realized that it is all about having fun. The most foundational level of enjoyment for me is the complete connection with my car. For me, a turbo gets in the way of that as it dulls the connection to the gas pedal. Not just lag, but the boost rise that blows past 1/2 throttle and makes full power at certain rpm and not others. Some people don't care. For me, it is similar to driving an automatic: it can be fun, but you always feel like something is missing.

I always say that if you can be satisified with the power you can get naturally aspirated (both hp and torque) then that is your best bet. It has its compromises, such as reliability and noise, but the quality is always there in the delivery. Superchargers come next, followed by a turbo. As the quantity goes up, the quality seems to go down.

Given the time and the money, I would try and stuff a nice Lincoln LS 3.0 Duratec V6 in my car. 220 hp, factory reliable and you are GUARANTEED to be the only guy with a Lincoln badge anywhere!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Haha.. good info. Thanks Rich.. that is really the sum of what I wanted to know.

I still welcome any turbo users for their input.
 

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Well as for Road Racing I have about 10 laps on the Nurburgring @ 22km each lap long and 172 curves. As for Turbo, not yet, being built. As for heat I worry more about brakes standing up more than the motor. The stock motor with chip gets me around the cousrse just fine but the brakes are what I am really woried about. Heat there is not an isue but weather and altitude is. The different climate and elevation changes are what seen to effect the turbo cars the most. I have driven through 2 different rain storms on one lap. I think the maximum elevation difference there is 500ft or so.
 

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Well, I'm glad this discussion is reasonable, and we can share some good info instead of the fear mongering that goes on elsewhere.

While I think that a turbo is not necessarily the devil incarnate, I will admit that maintenance WILL go up. You're just adding more stuff to your car.

It's like if you went dry sump. It's good for your car, gives you some power, etc... but it's just more "stuff" to go wrong. Anytime you increase the number of components on your car, you increase the number of parts on the car that could potentially fail.

A JRSC is probably the closest thing to dead-nuts reliable OEM power you're going to get. I had a real good look at an SVTJRSC install, and I told the guy, it looks factory. And I'm an engineer here, so I know. I don't completely agree with the management they are using, I still prefer a proper stand alone setup over anything else. But I did test the A/F, and it seemed safe.

But I just don't think I'd ever be happy with the power. It was a little underwhelming. I don't really agree with Rich about that, I don't think the torque curve is that great. It's better than a large peaky turbo, but it's not as good as a small responsive turbo. It's somewhere inbetween.

It's a slow steady ramp up. It doesn't have lots of torque everywhere, but it also doesn't sneak up on you and blammo hit you with a torque spike.

The car would definitely be quick on a racetrack, but it wouldn't have the "robust" torque delivery that I love so much. Particularly for track days where you can come screaming up under braking on slow people, and come out of a corner riding their butt way slower than you want. You find yourself in the wrong gear, and will need to downshift to get max power. With a little turbo, you can leave it in the the wrong gear, and it can pull you out.

To me, the delivery is just more satisfying. I think I've got the best of both worlds. I loved the power delivery of my Mustang, but hated the chassis. I like the handling of compacts, but hate having to rev the piss out of motors. Now I've got the power curve of a big engine, in a small lightweight car.

To me, the JRSC delivery... it's more like a Honda V6. Good hp, but you do have to wind it out a bit. Mine is more like a Duratec V6 (Rich's Lincoln) it's got the same power as the Honda, but just delivers it lower down.

I am kinda like Rich, I'm just out to have fun. But for me, part of the fun is playing with the big boys. And also I'm an engineer, so the extra complexity of the turbo system is actually fun in some strange Machiovellian way.

1) Piping. Turbo cars are always blowing hoses and the like. Bead rolling and really good clamps seem to be lost on many, including OEM's.
Absolutely. I used good strong T-band clamps, and only had one issue. The hose to the turbo compressor kept popping off. I machined an adaptor to the compressor, and made a bead on it, and it's been fine since. All the other pipes are not beaded, but they haven't given me any trouble. The T-band clamps are mandatory though. And I WOULD have beads just as a matter of completeness, but I haven't found a bead roller. My next generation piping will have beads, but I'm gonna have to make my own bead roller.

This would not be a problem on a JRSC, but it would on a centrifical.

2) Gaskets. Most gaskets around the turbo seem pretty vulnerable. I have yet to see a manifold gasket go, but have seen a couple of instances of turbo flange gasket failure.
Absolutely. That damn gasket gets REALLY hot. There ARE engineering solutions, just look at a Porsche. You could use really thick 1/2" flanges with a ground surface and NO gasket. Or you could use V-band clamps... Either would solve the problem, but neither is cheap or easy. So far, I'm using an off-the-shelf Mr. Gasket exhaust gasket sheet, and cut my own gasket. I'm sure it's woefully inadequate, but it's okay for now. I'm trying to find some kind of laminated steel sheet like a head gasket, but no luck so far.

This is one area that a supercharger doesn't have to worry about.

3) PCV system. Too many turbo cars burn a lot of oil on over run after a long straight. Again, OEM's included.
Agreed, again. I had a big problem last year. I had to remove the PCV hose at the track and clamp it. Just left the valve cover breather open.

Last winter, I got myself a Mustang SVO PCV valve, and now I don't have a problem. It still blows a little oil, but not enough to notice it burning.

The solution is an SVO PCV valve, and an oil seperator catch can attached to the valve cover breater. You'll catch the oil instead of blowing it onto the engine. This actually should probably be done anyway, because sucking PCV fumes on a racecar is never a good idea. It lowers the effective octane of the fuel.

This would be an issue on a supercharger too.

4) Vacuum lines. Since many of them are boost and vacuum lines, coupled with some heat, they seem to be on the hit list. I think the problem is many of them are out of sight, out of mind and left for far too long.
I've never personally had a problem, but the potential is there. On my car it won't matter, a vacuum leak would just give me a high idle and bleed boost. But on a MAF car, it could be trouble.

Personally, I would never put a turbo on a track that is just for fun. Maybe someone with an aerocharger will come to VIR and make me change my mind, but at this time, no way.
Hopefully I can make it, we can discuss a test drive later. While it may not bring you over to the dark side, I think it's enough to say "Wow, I like this a lot more than the last turbo car I drove."

CTB has been in my car, and he also has a religious dislike of turbos. While he still likes his Honda's, I think he couldn't argue about lag anymore.

Sometimes I think I would be better off with 250hp from a built NA 2.3 Duractec. But I just *like* turbos, I think they're fun. It's an engineering challenge to me.

And that's really what it is. The systems are more complex, but there is not ONE single problem that cannot be overcome with good engineering. The reason turbos get a bad rap sometimes, I think it has a lot to do with a lot of poorly engineered aftermarket kits, installed by people who don't have enough experience to spot or fix the problems.

I mean, really, whens the last time you heard about somebody with a factory Porsche Turbo having trouble with reliability? They do them right, and they work.

That's my goal. If I can get factory reliability out of this setup, I'll feel fullfilled as an engineer. It's not about how much power I can make, it's how much power I can make RELIABLY.

The stock motor with chip gets me around the cousrse just fine but the brakes are what I am really woried about.
Absolutely. Do not get a turbo without getting big brakes first. I was miserable last year. It was like driving my Mustang all over again. The car was powerful, but it was no longer fun to drive. Big brakes are a MUST. FIRST. Then intall whatever forced induction you want. Don't do it the other way around, because you won't enjoy your car on track in the interim. Running a weak car with big brakes is still fun. Strong car with weak brakes, not fun.

Heat there is not an isue but weather and altitude is. The different climate and elevation changes are what seen to effect the turbo cars the most. I have driven through 2 different rain storms on one lap. I think the maximum elevation difference there is 500ft or so.
Again, poor engineering. There should be no problem here. It's just a result of poor engine management. It's one thing I've been talking about for a while. Too many tuners who can buy a dyno, but can't buy the skills necessary to use them right. It's kinda like gun ownership.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks P... great info again. Just for clarifications sake. I am not looking at the Jackson. I've been behind a Jackson on a road course after a few laps, and the heat soak pulled it down to equal with my NA car, so that's not an option.

I'm looking at the wolff racing (which is a self contained unit, no oil lines) and probably with a Pectel as management.

I just have this strange feeling that Wolff is not going to be able to get CARB certification, so I think I'm SOL for CARB unless I go with the Vortech which I just don't want.

I would go with a turbo if I thought I could keep it together. I just MUST be able to get home from a track day. That's my only worry. Maintenance I'm not terribly worried about, I can do maintenance. I just don't want to break. I think I'll stick with the supercharger for now and maybe switch to a turbo when this is a track only car.
 

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Really, it heat soaked that bad? That's incredible. Was it a JRSC SVT or ZX3 vs. your SVT?

That's even worse than I thought.

It's really a tough call, and if I were you, I'd wait whatever you do. Just save your money, feel things out, and then make a move when you're sure it works.

The Wolff Racing kit is untested, let somebody else be the guinea pig. I'd give it at least 6 months when it's on some other people's cars so they can feel it out.

Same deal with turbos. I wouldn't recommend anybody here try the Precision kit until "everybody else" has run it for 6 months first. That's how long it takes to really get a good idea how things are playing out.

The only turbo setups I would personally suggest right now would be Tom's setup, or... I could do a custom setup. If somebody came to me and said "I've got this Aerocharger and I want it set up like yours", I could replicate the exhaust piping, and do custom intercooler piping to suit. I could also set up a T25 or T3 with Pectel management, but that would be a "leave your car at my garage for 1-2 weeks" thing.

Tom is the only one with a trackrecord of being able to "mass produce" a decent turbo kit. I wouldn't even think about something like that at this time.

Anyway, just make sure you choose wisely whichever way you go. NOTHING is more frustrating to us guys than not being able to hit the track because your car mods have made the car unreliable.
 

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I'd be curious to learn about the JRSC car too.

Not to take this too far off topic, but what kind of power level are you going for? You don't have to give a number, maybe you'd like to be as quick as a certain car you share time with. How high you want to go determines how many compromises you will have to accept.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The Jackson car was an SVT Jackson. My car is pushing 165whp and 150 torque has a flywheel and LSD. The JRSC SVT is completely stock except for the supercharger.

Here's a vid link to show that once we pulled on the front straight, you'll see that the JRSC SVT (the silver focus) doesn't pull on me at all in the straight. The heat soak really took it's effect I think.
Buttonwillow Footage (50 megs)

Rich.. as for the power I'm looking for, I'd like to have roughly 240 or so to the wheels. That's pretty much always been my goal. I'd take a little less power if I added some decent low end torque to compensate.

And as for being the first, I honestly don't mind being the first. I have the funds (or will have as soon as I finish my side job). So with a pectel, then my only worry is hardware. I am not to worried about the ATI procharger, they seem to be pretty proven. So my only worry is the piping, mounting bracket, and intercooler. Which I don't think is a huge worry spot.

Hey P.. I'd be insterested in a custom setup to use the Aerocharger 53000 unit. That would be the PERFECT setup. No oil lines to run, and low end somewhat predictable boost
Why do you have to be so stinking far?
 

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I guess I should toss in since im pretty much the only other turbo guy. The fact that there are only a few turbo cars that see road course work should not be taken lightly. Its hard to properly engineer any kind of aftermarket forced induction to work well on a racetrack. As mentioned you have a ton of extra complexity added, hoses, clamps, piping, transmission parts, a total engine management remap... the list is long and all of them need to be able to take a beating on a racetrack. In short its a big PITA. Most aftermarket setups arent up to it; witness the latest C&D issue where they test a whole bunch of four cylinder aftermarket cars from various large names. More then half the cars had a significant flaws that seriously compromised thier performance and all they were doing was a two minute workout, not multiple 30 minute lapping sessions. And then they ALL got beat by a stock Z06 ringer.

Dont get me wrong im definitely not against the concept of running a turbocharged car on the track, however I feel it should be the LAST thing you do, only after addressing every possible performance avenue should you add a whack of horsepower via additional complexity. Brakes, suspension, differential, clutch, flywheel, tires, safety stuff, basic weight reduction etc... should all be in place first.

Having said that its nice to have the extra power down the straights. There is a rather large satisfaction in staying right on the tail of a 996 C2 or E46 M3 or C5 down the front straight and then outbraking them at the end. (until his Z06/996 turbo buddy pulls a dozen cars on you anyhow
)
 

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Yeah, I get a kick out of seeing these tuners cars constantly blowing up on track during magazine comparos. I mean it's tragic, but I have to laugh. Then I cry thinking about how much money I could make if I was more entrepreneurial.


Next year, I will likely sign up for the Ultimate Street Car Competition, and ask Focaljet to vote me in. I really want to start taking on some of these guys.

Chris basically reinforces what I'm saying. It can be done, and it can work. But it's not cheap, and don't take the undertaking lightly. You are doubling the stock power of the powertrain that took 1000's of hours to design, and you are asking it to withstand way more punishment than they intended.

The Zetec is doing an admiral job holding up to the punishment, especially for an economy car.

But, you can EXPECT premature engine failure at some point. Not necessarily from rod breakage, but more likely from the effects of the thermal loading on the system.

If my engine takes more than 2 years of this abuse, I'll be very very surprised. Chris has a lot more lap time than me with the turbo, and it'd probably be a good idea to start shopping around for a new engine soon, just to have one in his back pocket just in case. Or at least think about pulling the head this winter, and checking the bores, pistons, bearings etc for general wear.

If these engines last 2 years like this, I'd almost be content never "building" a motor, and just keep popping in cheap junkyard engines. In our case, a low milage junkyard motor costs less than a set of rods.


I guess at some point though (starting next year
) the supply of low milage units will start to dry up.
 

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This is a great thread...keep it up guys!!!

CCC
 
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